The Wallflower: A Guide to Perceiving and Working with Introverted Employees

You’re probably familiar with the concept of ‘wallflower personalities’. It’s likely that you have a friend who prefers staying in on a Friday night instead of going out and mingling. This term is often associated with introverts, who are known to enjoy relaxing evenings with their favourite shows and a delicious plate of eggs benedict. Nevertheless, motivating introverts when working remotely can pose its own set of challenges.

To an introverted individual, the notion of working from home may seem like an appealing prospect. With remote meetings and an emphasis on personal initiative and asynchronous communication, it’s easy to conclude that this work setup is perfectly suited to their disposition. Despite these advantages, it’s important to take into account the potential disadvantages of this arrangement.

According to a recent study conducted by Greater Divide, a research firm located in Virginia, extroverted individuals are notably less likely than their introverted counterparts to suffer from mental health issues as a result of remote work and social isolation. Moreover, a separate research conducted by Tribe discovered that 13% of introverts expressed a preference to return to physical workplaces after the pandemic, while 30% found it more challenging to socialize with colleagues while working remotely.

Remote work isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but the more crucial question is which types of jobs are most suitable for this kind of work arrangement. It can be challenging to stay productive and at ease in a virtual work environment, particularly for individuals with an innate introverted nature.

Illustrate the Attributes of a “Wallflower”.

“Wallflower people” are typically individuals who tend to hover in the background and may come across as shy or reserved when in a large group of people. Such individuals may feel anxious in social gatherings and may find it more comfortable to spend time with a small group of close friends instead of seeking attention or socialising with larger groups.

Rather than characterizing introverts as individuals who “hate partying”, the Oxford Dictionary defines them as being more introspective and inwardly focused than outwardly oriented. This notion has been in circulation since the 1920s, when psychologist Carl Jung proposed his theory of introversion and extroversion as two distinctive personality traits. Over time, this theory has served as the backbone of numerous other personality type theories, including the Myers-Brigg Type Indicator (MBTI), which acknowledges that individuals may exhibit traits from both ends of the spectrum. Ultimately, a person’s conduct is typically influenced by one of the two personality types.

Studies have revealed that individuals with an introverted disposition have a greater inclination towards being solitary and looking at the world from an internal perspective. While extroverts gain energy from social engagements, introverts require downtime to recharge their batteries and refocus. This is largely due to the contrasting inclination between the two personalities.

Common traits among introverts involve:

  • Independence
  • Self-awareness
  • Quietness
  • Display of intense passion while discussing ideas
  • Indulgence in solitary activities
  • Preference for smaller circles of close associates
  • Tendency to withdraw and take an objective view of things.

What Makes Introverts Exel in Remote Working?

The attractiveness of the “wallflower” disposition lies in its inclination to ruminate and reflect on what is being conveyed, as opposed to the more vocal nature of extroverts. This usually prompts them to contribute something thought-provoking and meaningful to the conversation once they do engage. Employing introverts comes with the benefit of their being more focused and committed to their job responsibilities.

Forbes has noted that introverts posses a variety of valuable abilities, such as the ability to carefully assess situations prior to taking action, attentively listen to others’ opinions, and independently make decisions.

In remote teams, individuals with an introspective approach are frequently the most adept at organising and planning. Their heightened observation skills enable them to swiftly determine task allocation and form teams to optimise contributions. Additionally, those with an introverted disposition are more likely to include extra time in their plans, which can be highly advantageous. As such, it is advantageous to utilise their organisational skills in team management. Conversely, extroverts may be more suitable for managing interactions with larger groups of individuals.

It is a popular misconception that introverts lack the ability to engage in profound contemplation and analysis. However, it can be argued that they are quite capable of such activities and are often the most suitable individuals when it comes to researching and presenting an annual report to clients. They possess the ability to offer comprehensive insights and efficiently manage and track the progress of a project. Nonetheless, an extroverted individual may be better equipped to present the report and maintain the audience’s engagement by emphasising the most critical aspects of the research.

To optimise the productivity of the company, it is important to leverage the strengths of both introverted and extroverted individuals. It is crucial that both groups of people possess the ability to work harmoniously with others, and if they can work cooperatively, they will both contribute significantly to the project’s success. Encouraging amiable discussions between the two is therefore advised. However, it is vital to bear in mind that introverts might require more time to become at-ease with larger social interactions.

Methods for Engaging and Supporting the Introverts in Your Distributed Team.

  • Abstain from using timidity as a justification.
  • To prevent making introverts feel uncomfortable, it is best to avoid putting them in the spotlight.
  • Acquire the talent of understanding your introverted client’s behaviour.

When seeking to cooperate with an introvert, it is crucial not to use their introverted nature as a justification for their behaviour. Although some introverts may require more time to reflect on their actions and opinions, this should not be seen as a way to allow only extroverts to take charge while introverts remain inactive. It is important to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to contribute ideas and opinions in a professional setting.

The subsequent step is to develop a work timetable that is fair for all team members, while taking into account the various personalities within the team. It is important not to coerce introverts into the spotlight, as this can make them more reluctant to contribute. The aim should be to create a positive and welcoming environment where everyone who desires to pitch in is able to do so. In remote work, holding regular video meetings to discuss new developments or changes to the team’s objectives is vital. Providing everyone on the team with an opportunity to express their thoughts in these meetings is important, and scheduling breaks to do so can be helpful. Alternatively, humour can be employed to create a more relaxed atmosphere and encourage participation by making light of any peculiarities.

To achieve success, it is crucial to comprehend the type of introvert you are cooperating with. Everyone has different techniques for handling social circumstances, so it is important to dedicate time to learn and integrate your team’s preferred methods into your work processes. Striving to comprehend your colleagues’ areas of expertise and what motivates them will enable you to customise your approach for maximum productivity and collaboration.

Subsequently, a discourse on the various types of introverts and the most effective ways to interact with them will be provided.

Attributes of Different Categories of Introverts

The terms “introvert” and “extrovert” were first coined by Carl Jung in the 1920s, which led to further exploration that expanded the original categorisation. In 2023, researchers Jennifer Grimes, Jonathan Cheek and Julie Norem identified four fundamental types of introversion: the sociable introvert, the thinker, the worrier, and the reserved. This has allowed for a better comprehension of the commonalities and differences amongst individuals with this particular personality type.

1. Extroverted Introverts

Introverts who enjoy social interaction typically engage in it only periodically, preferring to prioritise spending time alone. As outlined by psychologist Anthony Freire, this is not a result of anxiety, but rather a desire for limited social interaction or for intimate gatherings with like-minded individuals.

Habits and peculiarities of character exhibited by introverts:

  • Preferencing intimate, exclusive gatherings
  • Spending time alone regularly, whether on vacation or
  • Like any other relationship, a partnership benefits from personal time away.
  • Accepts social invitations but rarely attends

Working online with a reserved colleague:

If you are an introverted person who thrives and achieves success in smaller groups and an unsynchronized setting, there is a chance that you possess more extroverted qualities than you realise. Extroverts commonly appreciate a mix of group activities and secluded contemplation to identify the optimal plan of action. To involve extroverts in the team, it is recommended to combine group meetings with specific tasks that are assigned to the group. Expect punctuality, precision, and well-articulated beliefs from this type of team member, and eventually, they will form bonds with their colleagues and offer valuable contributions to the team.

2. A Thoughtful Introvert

Clinical psychologist Carla Marie Manly, Ph.D., points out that the “thinking introvert” is usually cerebral in their behaviour. These introverts are frequently highly intelligent and prefer solitary pursuits such as reading, writing, and conducting research.

Introverted persons who think carefully before answering are inclined to reply with a phrase like “let me ponder on it”. Individuals with an introverted disposition typically possess excellent listening skills and frequently demonstrate the ability to support those who are struggling.

Traits and practices exhibited by introspective thinkers:

  • Introspection
  • Enthusiasm for acquiring knowledge, reading, and generating new ideas
  • Avoid hastily providing a response or perspective.
  • Advanced understanding of one’s own strengths and weaknesses

Working collaboratively with introspective thinkers through remote access:

Tasks such as research and other solitary activities are perfect for this personality type, as they can utilise their aptitudes. These individuals are likely to present detailed reports and in-depth assessments. The more introspective members of a team are often able to discover valuable information and provide original viewpoints. Their methodical problem-solving approach also renders them an asset in decision-making processes and crafting new plans. Moreover, these individuals typically possess exceptional listening skills and can facilitate conversations. By entrusting them with such tasks, you are enabling them to stay within their comfort zone, which ensures their focus is on results rather than people-oriented.

3. Timid and Anxious

Individuals with an introverted personality may be more inclined to avoid social gatherings and may seem apprehensive or edgy. They may experience excessive social anxiety, which may result in them feeling that they lack the essential social abilities and self-assurance. Those who are timid and prone to embarrassment may refer to themselves as “wallflowers”, which can lead to them becoming more cautious and defensive when confronted with social interactions. They may take measures to steer clear of social situations altogether, making them appear unsociable or unapproachable. Introverts typically feel more at ease in familiar surroundings and find it challenging to adjust to new people and environments.

Common practices and traits exhibited by introspective individuals who experience anxiety:

  • Typically display indications of anxiety when confronted with unfamiliar situations
  • Exceedingly unpleasant and avoidant behaviour
  • The consistent avoidance of any kind of social interaction

Collaborating remotely with a worrisome introverted individual:

For those who experience anxiety and introversion, having a dependable companion could be advantageous. Being around individuals they trust, such as friends and family, can establish an atmosphere that is more conducive to them opening up and feeling at ease. Therefore, it is advisable to encourage those affected to partake in various activities with diverse team members, as long as the social interactions are not overwhelming. To ensure comfort and familiarity, it is recommended to allocate tasks and projects with those they are most at ease with and gradually introduce them to the rest of the team.

4. Restraint-Inducing Introverted Personality

An introverted person who is prone to being reserved or inhibited is someone who enjoys solitude and places a high value on their privacy. This individual usually exhibits a contemplative and composed demeanour, instead of being shy or avoidant. They tend to adopt a cautious approach when faced with novel situations or individuals, gradually becoming more receptive and placing more trust as they gain confidence in those around them.

As per Manly, the “restrained introverted personality” usually exhibits introspective traits and a generally laid-back disposition. This kind of individual tends to be emotionally restrained and maintain a composed attitude while still displaying a consistent and dependable level of energy. Moreover, it is frequently those who are more distant and hesitant who are relied upon by others.

Common practices and qualities exhibited by most introverted individuals who are capable of controlling their emotions include:

  • Deliberating and reflecting before taking action
  • Preferring to follow a set routine
  • Frequently displaying a detached and analytical demeanour

Collaborating with a reticent introverted individual:

The introverted personality type is recognized for being highly devoted and faithful to those closest to them. It may take time for an introvert to open up and confide in someone, but once they do, they provide dependable and insightful perspectives. In a corporate setting, these individuals can be of immense value, as they comprehend the unique challenges encountered by individuals with an “introverted” temperament. To establish trust, it’s important to develop a personal relationship with them, while also proving competence without compromising on client satisfaction. Once they believe in you, their systematic approach can aid in planning and delegating tasks effectively.

Managing Reticent Workers in a Virtual Setting

As an employer, it can be challenging to discern introverted individuals among your employees. Nevertheless, there are certain indications that can aid in recognising introverts in your team. For instance, an introvert may not be very sociable or prompt to engage in discussions. It’s crucial to remember that collaborating with an introvert is not equivalent to working with a hermit; introverts can offer assistance and participate in discussions, but may require innovative teaching techniques. To guarantee that you extract the best from your timid staff members, you should employ approaches that are suited to their requirements.

To sum up, here are a few things to keep in mind when interacting with introverts in a virtual work environment:

Comprehending Your Personality of Remote Team

By dedicating time to learn how to communicate with your employees efficiently, you will establish the groundwork for future accomplishments. However, if you also consider the specific requirements of your staff, especially remote workers, your efforts will eventually yield benefits. Involving with introverted colleagues in the workplace can be challenging, but it is certainly feasible, and they could contribute a significant amount of value to your team.

Comprehending and appreciating the distinct personalities of your team can significantly enhance the recruitment process. If the more introverted qualities of a potential candidate could benefit your team, then search for someone with a composed and peaceful disposition. Conversely, if a more outgoing presence could benefit your team, then seek out someone who is enthusiastic, informed, and can engage an audience. Both types of individuals can contribute immensely, but it’s important to assess what your team needs.

If you require additional information about our services, please feel free to contact us. Our company is an IT staffing firm that specializes in remote placements and recognizes the significance of fostering a positive business environment. We understand that hiring the right personnel with the appropriate skills is insufficient; we strive to ensure our candidates meet your exact criteria. If your company is seeking to employ a remote developer, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Join the Top 1% of Remote Developers and Designers

Works connects the top 1% of remote developers and designers with the leading brands and startups around the world. We focus on sophisticated, challenging tier-one projects which require highly skilled talent and problem solvers.
seasoned project manager reviewing remote software engineer's progress on software development project, hired from Works blog.join_marketplace.your_wayexperienced remote UI / UX designer working remotely at home while working on UI / UX & product design projects on Works blog.join_marketplace.freelance_jobs